Yasmin Karisi - killed in attack
Kochava Polanski - killed in Azor attack
Sigal Yunesi - survived attack
Terrorist Khalil Mohammed Abu Ulbah - now set to be released
Reproduction Photo: Tzvika Tishler
Helena Rapp - stabbed to death by terrorist
Reproduction Photo: Tzvika Tishler

Bereaved families: State dancing in our blood

Terror victims' parents shocked to learn from media that their loved one's murderer included in list of prisoners to be released in Shalit deal

"What they did to us is like a slap in the face. We need to hear about the terrorist who killed our daughter being released from the media? Everyone is happy and dancing in our blood and with all due respect to Gilad's smiling mother, there are hundreds of parents whose heart is bleeding today."


Harsh words from Haim Karisi who lost his daughter Yasmin in the Azor Junction terror attack 11 years ago. On Sunday he was finding it hard to bear the insult as he discovered that Khalil Mohammed Abu Ulbah, the murderer who cost him his daughter, was one of the 477 prisoners set to be released in the first phase of the Shalit deal.


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Abu Ulbah was sentenced to eight consecutive life sentences following the February 14 terror attack in 2001 in which he used a bus to run over a group of female soldiers near the Azor Junction. Eight died in the attack and 26 were wounded. Yasmin Karisi was one of those who did not survive.


"We sent our girl to the army, just like they sent Gilad. My girl never made it back and today I feel humiliated, what did we ask for? For them to show a little sensitivity? Cooperation?


זירת הפיגוע בטרמפיאדה בצומת אזור (צילום דדי ליפשיץ)

Scene of Azor Junction terror attack (Photo: Dedi Lipshitz) 


"For someone to pick up the phone and say: 'The price is heavy but we decided to release them'. This is a proof of inadequacy for the State of Israel if this is how they act towards the bereaved families."


Another soldier killed in the same attack was Kochava (Kochi) Polanski. "This morning I woke up and I saw it in the newspaper and felt like someone gave me a slap in the face", recalls Tanya Polanski, Kochi's mother, of the moment she discovered abu-Ulbah was being released.


  • For extensive coverage of the Shalit deal, click here


"A year or two ago when the Shalit deal fell through they made us a promise that before it would be published in the media – they would tell us who was being released and who wasn't."


The anger over the way the State conducted itself doesn't just end with their attitude towards the bereaved families. The bereaved parents and parents of those injured in the terror attacks are also critical of the legal process and the heavy price Israel has agreed to pay.


כמו שהקימו צוות לשחרור גלעד, היו צריכים צוות למשפחות (צילום דדי ליפשיץ)

'Petitions are lip service' (Photo: Dedi Lipshitz) 


"All these petitions to the High Court are lip service," claimed Zion Yunesi, father of Yasmin Yunesi who was critically wounded in the terror attack.


"Apparently we aren't even a party in the matter. No one is asking us. They decided on the list, signed and that's it. The names are only published at the last minute and it's clear why," he said. 


'Indescribable physical and emotional pain'

Yet the person expressing the most sympathy over the release of Shalit is victim Sigal Yunesi.


"It's a complex issue but I'm comforted by the fact that an abducted soldier will return to Israel after suffering for five years. Following the attack I became religious and now believe this is a divine move.


"It hurts that the terrorist who killed my friends and injured me is being released after such a short time, but I'm comforted by the fact that we're saving a life.


"I understand the bereaved families but we need to understand that at the end of the day it's a package deal. This week, God willing, a soldier will come back home alive. I would not want to be in his place."


Written promises

Another parent angered by the prisoner exchange deal is Ze'ev Rapp, father of Helena Rapp who was murdered by a terrorist in Bat Yam. Rapp was shocked to discover his daughter's murderer, Fuad Amrin, on the list of names of terrorists set to be released in the deal. On Sunday evening he angrily told Ynet that he heard about the release through the media.


"The prime minister comes and dumps this issue on us out of nowhere, that the murderer who slit open my daughter's chest with a knife and took out her heart – is being released."

זאב ראפ ליד האנדרטה לזכר בתו (צילום: אבי מועלם, "חולון בת-ים")

Helena Rapp's parents near her memorial (Photo: Avi Mualem)


Helena Rapp was 15 and a half years old when she was murdered on the Bat Yam boardwalk on May 24 1992. She left her house at 7 am in the direction of the bus station. Amrin from took out a kitchen knife and attacked her. He stabbed her in the back and in the chest.


Ze'ev Rapp said he had received promises that his daughter's killer would never be released. "I have promises in writing from previous prime ministers, from (Ariel) Arik Sharon and Ehud Olmert," he said.


He condemned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's actions saying: "If you do such a thing as prime minister, respect the families, let us know and then do it. Who are you to release the murderers of our children? We also have something to say."


Rapp noted that he was worried that his daughter's murderer would return to his terrorist activities: "My daughter's murderer is only 38 years old, his whole life is still ahead of him.


"He can go back and carry out more terror attacks and be released after the next kidnapper and then they will tell us again of the calculated risk that we're taking. What will the prime minister who took responsibility for the releases say then? Will he release another 1,000 terrorists?"


Meanwhile, the widow of Shalom Har-Melech, who was murdered in a 2003 terrorist attack in the settlement of Homesh, filed a compensation claim with the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on Sunday against the five terrorists who were involved in the attack, and are slated to be released in the prisoner exchange deal.


In the lawsuit, Har-Melech's widow claimed that she suffered indescribable physical and emotional pain following the murder of her husband. The Har-Melech family is seeking a compensation of NIS 750,000 from each of the five terrorists.


In its response, the State Prosecutor's Office said that the public damage that might be caused by their request would be "ten times worse" than the damage caused to the plaintiffs.


Aviad Glickman contributed to the report




פרסום ראשון: 10.16.11, 19:25
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